Afraid of your first USA road trip with children? You are not alone because every parent feels anxious about long journeys with kids. Do not worry! In our article, we have collected the top inevitable things for a trip with toddlers, which can help you organize yourself and prepare for a journey thoroughly!
Take care of safety
If you feel anxious about safety during a road trip, use the tips below.
A toddler seat is a must
Specifically designed to keep a child safe, a toddler seat is inevitable for road trips. During early life, kids tend to be more flexible – so they can slip out from the regular belts at the moment of a crash. Moreover, their bone structure is too soft to handle an accident, so a toddler seat fixes a child in a stable position and prevents injuries. Mind that a seat for kids up to 2-4 years should rear-face in a car.
Use window and door locks
Some toddlers like to play with rolling down the windows, but you can avoid it by locking the last ones. Near the driver’s seat, search for a specific button that, when pressed, blocks windows from movement. To improve security even more, use door lockers or lock knobs to prevent your toddler from accidentally opening the doors.
Children have lots of energy – they switch from one activity to another very quickly, so they need to be busy with something. Tablet and laptop games may distract toddlers, but how about trying something else?
Meet a coloring book
Give your little sweetheart a crayon or pencil and observe marvelous self-expression. Coloring books are not only distracting, but they also develop:
- Motor skills;
- Cognitive skills;
- Color recognition.
You can print out pictures of your child’s favorite characters or buy a ready coloring book (some have stickers in addition!).
Having some toys is essential
When there is no opportunity for one adult to be in the backseat, consider obtaining some toys to keep your kid busy. It can be:
- My Busy Book;
- Wikki Stix;
- Maze Magnetic Puzzle;
- Wooden Lacing Toy;
- Magnetic Drawing Board;
- Buckle Toy.
Since you travel in a car, you may take two, three toys, or even more. With van rental, there is no need to worry about lack of space, and if you know where to rent a 7-passenger vehicle cheaply, you will save money as well!
Come up with some games
If you have no space for toys in a suitcase, entertain your toddler by playing spoken games. The classic “I Spy” is a fantastic option, but what about trying something else? One of the best road trip games for small children is the First Letter Game. The task is to listen to a group of words and identify the first letter of each one. For example, you say: “Cat, cactus, cave,” and the correct answer is “C.”
Stock up on provisions
With a child in a car, you should be ready to stock up on provisions (both water and food).
Always have something to drink
Adults are more enduring and can handle without drinking water for a long time, unlike small children. Stocking up with drinks is essential during hot seasons because toddlers become dehydrated in a car even faster than while being outside. Raise your child to prefer the water, and encourage them to do so regularly during a road trip to prevent light-headedness, nausea, headaches, or dizziness.
Get some snacks in advance
Children older than three years should have three complete meals and two additional snacks every day to receive enough nutrition for their bodies. Going through the growing-up process is already hard for your kid, plus the first trip adds to the stress. That is why your toddler should always have something to consume to reduce anxiety. It can be:
- Whole-grain crackers;
- Chocolate Protein Muffins;
- Dried apples;
- Yogurt tubes;
Note: avoid eating while driving and teach children to have a meal during stops.
Do not be scared because of possible emergencies – prepare and be ready for them instead.
A first-aid kit is obligatory
Use a water-proof and easy-to-carry container that you can lock so the child cannot open it. Checking the expiration date before putting medicine is a must, as well as hands-washing before using something from your first-aid kit, which may include:
- Scissors for cutting clothes, tweezers;
- Disposable gloves;
- Antiseptic cream or wipes;
- Electronic thermometer.
Prepare extra clothes
Staining clothes is simple for toddlers – they do it while playing, eating, or merely sitting! Bringing some extra clothes is essential for long trips if you want to keep your kid clean upon arrival at your destination. Remember: do not prepare too much emergency wear to avoid overpacking.